Received from a reader via email:
What would be the number one problem of having social anxiety for you?
The number one problem for me was that until I reached my mid 30s, I never really believed in myself. When I was younger I let social anxiety take over my world and it severely limited me.
To the point where I didn’t fully enjoy my youth and don’t feel I lived up to my full potential…
I didn’t go for the career I really wanted (which was to be a surgeon). I didn’t go away to school because I was afraid I couldn’t handle it. I made those fears come true…
I have a pretty high IQ but I remember I “dumbed myself down” to fit in in high school.
The fact that I didn’t become a doctor when I was something that bothered me for years. It made me angry at myself and it made me unhappy in my nursing profession- which I chose simply because the classes were easier than the pre-med classes from a social anxiety perspective- because they were mostly filled with girls. I was afraid to be in classes with boys for some reason.
With age comes wisdom, thankfully. I never did become a doctor, but I did eventually go away to college for my Master’s Degree and I was proud of that.
I learned through a lot of self help, not so much through therapy, that my body has a wonderful innate ability to heal and reach equilibrium. The more I do to help myself, the better I become.
The thing with social anxiety is that it feeds on itself and perpetuates- the more you avoid things- the more you stay afraid. It is a truly vicious cycle and very hard to break.
I got to the point in my 20s where I couldn’t have conversations and could barely look people in the eye. Although I didn’t realize it, I was doing this to myself with every social encounter. This was all me reinforcing that yes the world and all the people in it are scary and judging me.
I wish I knew then what I know now. That it was all untrue. Yes, some people are mean, but most people are kind. Everyone is just living their life and no one was focused in on me or judging me.
I guess every person with social anxiety has to figure that one out. A therapist can tell you, or a well meaning friend, but until you believe it for yourself, you remain socially anxious.
When I look back on my past I feel sad for my younger self. I wish I could have told her how wonderful and capable she was.
What I CAN do is try to help other people who suffer with social anxiety. Since I have walked this path myself and gotten better, I know my words will reach others who want to know someone truly gets it.
Let me be the first to say I thought I was the sickest of them all. I never thought I would get better. And yet I did.
Do not sell yourself short. Do not put your life and your dreams on hold because you are anxious. Take action and work on your anxiety recovery. Believe me when I tell you what a difference it makes!
Time lost is time you never get back. In that spirit, here are some tutorials to help you. They are worth a serious read, especially if you are having a tough time.
Do NOT Lose Faith in Yourself- you have what it takes!
Believing You Can Get Better – is it challenging? Yes! Impossible? No way!
You Are Stronger Than The Average Person – way stronger. Don’t believe me? Give this a read…
You Are Never Too Sick to Get Better – and live a happy life!…
The great news is that no matter how debilitating your social anxiety is, no matter how long you’ve suffered, you have the power to get better. Take comfort in this today!
I wish you peace,